Bruce Morgan, based in Chicago but originally from the UK, stepped into the role of Global President at BCD M&E with more than 30 years of industry experience — nearly 20 of those years at BCD M&E. He had been the COO since 2019, and was a natural fit when Scott Graf announced his retirement. Here, we sit down with Bruce to talk about his perspective as he settles into his new role.
What characteristics do you think make a successful leader in today’s industry?
In general, I would say: vision, empathy, speed, emotional intelligence and a trustworthy teambuilder who is not afraid to fail. In today’s business climate, most complex situations or decisions do not have a clear black or white answer. A leader has to be able to quickly gather all data and perspective available and turn gray challenges into decisive decisions that move the business forward. That’s the practical reality of senior leadership. Personally, I also like to see that done with a level of humanity, kindness and complete void of ego. Amazing accomplishments and opportunities can often be derailed due to self-serving personality traits or agendas—I just don’t get that.
What do you see as the biggest threats to meetings and events as we know them?
I think we may have already experienced that extreme threat, first hand, over the past 36 months; and look where we are now—an expected gradual recovery quickly turned into an industry overwhelmed as people jumped at the chance to meet again.
Looking forward, it’s cliché to assume virtual environments and other non-face-to-face options may be preferred by younger generations who have grown up in different networking environment. However, I don’t believe that’s what the data actually shows. For sure, we need to embrace programming and content options that provide nonphysical experiences that only enhances attendee engagement. But, we also need to ensure our physical gatherings are as sustainable and planet friendly as they can be.
What excites me most? Expectations have grown. If you want me to board your plane, stay in your room, attend your event and potentially spend time away from my friends and family; you better make the experience as seamless, engaging and rewarding as possible. If you are not meeting those expectations, you will be left behind.
What can you tell us about the future of BCD M&E?
I think we stand on the precipice of one of the most exciting times in our industry. The desire for human connection via unique, inspiring and sustainable experiences has never been greater. There is a lot happening not only in the world of meetings and events but also at BCD M&E. A few notable areas include finalizing structural and operational changes to ensure we’re an even more agile organization; continued investments across our services in all regions (brand experience, production and content, etc.); investment in technology and sustainability-focused roles; and investing in our people via focused career planning, training and development opportunities and well-being initiatives. All of which are critical to provide the absolute best service and capabilities to help our customers grow their business.
Are there any trips or destinations you’ve visited that stand out in your career so far?
I’ve been fortunate to see a few things around the world, mostly through the great work we do at BCD M&E. In another life, after working the Sydney 2000 Olympics, I took time off to travel the region. The beauty and grandeur of Milford Sound (Piopiotahi) in Fiordland, New Zealand was second to none. Pictures do not do it justice, and I’ve never flown again in a plane that had to hug the mountain tops so closely that you felt as if you could reach out and touch the peaks from your seat.
What are you most excited for in your role as Global President?
To continue the journey and help realize the vision that Scott started while fiercely protecting and embracing the culture that our entire leadership team has built over the years. Being there for, and serving, our employees, customers and partners is a job I’m honored to have; and from those interactions, I hope to be one of several leaders advocating on behalf of our industry overall. Our best days are ahead so let’s get to work and have some fun!
Originally published Oct 2, 2023 12:12:51 PM
Last updated on Oct 12, 2023 11:05:10 AM